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Diagnostic Tests for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis: Diagnostic Tests

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Osteoarthritis includes:

Home Diagnostic Testing

These home medical tests may be relevant to Osteoarthritis:

Tests and diagnosis discussion for Osteoarthritis:

No single test can diagnose osteoarthritis. Most doctors use a combination of the following methods to diagnose the disease and rule out other conditions:

Clinical History: The doctor begins by asking the patient to describe the symptoms, and when and how the condition started. Good doctor-patient communication is important. The doctor can give a better assessment if the patient gives a good description of pain, stiffness, and joint function, and how they changed over time. It is also important for the doctor to know how the condition is affecting the patient's work and daily life. Finally, the doctor also needs to know about other medical conditions and whether the patient is taking any medicines.

Physical Examination: The doctor will check the patient's general health. Joints bothering the patient will be examined, including checking reflexes and muscle strength. The doctor will also observe the patient's ability to walk, bend, and carry out activities of daily living.

X Rays: Doctors take x rays to see how much joint damage has been done. X rays of the affected joint can show such things as cartilage loss, bone damage, and bone spurs. But there is often a big difference between the severity of osteoarthritis that the x ray shows and the degree of pain and disability the patient has. And x rays may not show early osteoarthritis damage (before much cartilage loss has taken place).

Other Tests: The doctor may order blood tests to determine the cause of symptoms. Another common test includes "joint aspiration," where fluid is drawn from the joint for examination.

It is usually not difficult to tell if a patient has osteoarthritis. It is more difficult to tell if the disease is causing the patient's symptoms. Osteoarthritis is so common, especially in older people, that other conditions may play a role in the symptoms. The doctor will try to find out what is causing the symptoms, ruling out other disorders and identifying conditions that may make the symptoms worse. The severity of symptoms in osteoarthritis is greatly influenced by the patient's attitudes, anxiety, depression, or daily activity level. (Source: excerpt from Handout on Health Osteoarthritis: NIAMS)

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis: medical news summaries:

The following medical news items are relevant to diagnosis of Osteoarthritis:

 

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